A Wealth of Projects

I’ve noticed some chatter in the Glitch loving community about how they’re concerned about how the multiple efforts that are ongoing to bring back the world of Ur might divide the fan base and they would really wish to see the different teams collaborate on one project.

I can understand the concern, but I don’t see it as a problem so much.  While all of these projects are trying to rebuild some level of the world we all loved so much, we all have different goals with different paths to reach those goals that aren’t all compatible with each other.  Instead of seeing this as a short term problem of dividing a community, instead look at is as an opportunity for innovation for the future.  The ideas and effort that are being poured into each one of these projects is bound to come up with something new and different, which can likely be integrated into other projects if some of them fail.  In the end, once you account for all of the ideas and innovation being put forth by all of these groups, perhaps it will help bring about something that can be more successful than the sum of its parts.

All in all, look forward to the future!  It’s not every day assets like this are released into the public, and only good can come from it.  While I really hope that myself and this amazing team that we have here are able to be a part of this successful product that I’m envisioning, I’m proud to be a part of the journey if nothing else, and I wish nothing but the same to all of the other groups as well.

Also to help ease concerns a little bit, there have been at least a couple points of communication/collaboration between teams.

  • Children of Ur – Paul, their leader, is a member on our Slack instance, and we’ve had brief discussions of potential collaboration in the past, but don’t have any current plans.
  • Gourdian Knot – Turnip, their leader, is also acting as our systems administrator and has been an invaluable member of the Eleven team.

For links to a few other projects, check out our other projects page, and if we’re missing something, please drop us a line at contact_us@elevengiants.com with details.

Tiny Speck Launches Slack

I’d like to send congrats out to our friends at Tiny Speck for launching their amazing new team collaboration tool Slack on behalf of the Eleven family!

For those who may not be familiar with it, Slack is a great team collaboration tool that can be used to more or less eliminate the reliance on e-mail and instant messaging tools between members of a team and it’s easily configured to interact in very convenient ways with a large (growing) number of third party tools including source control, bug tracking, project management tools and a host of other things (a couple that we use are Git and Trello).  It’s where our team was formed to start and it’s been helping drive us forward at this great pace that we’ve been making so far.  I can seriously say that I don’t think our effort would have made it this far this easily without it.

If anyone reading this is working in a team environment, I’d seriously consider giving Slack a try, you’ll be thankful you did. (No, we aren’t getting a kick back or any incentive for endorsing them, it’s just a great product.)

Nottis, anyone?

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 5.40.25 PM

Lotha Harte lives! No heart yet, but once we have those God pages sorted out we will be able to program that back. We do have scrape-able ice nubbins, which is exciting! Look at those wonky quoins though – I can’t wait for the next phase of our QA process to get started.

To answer a question posed in the comments of the last post, we are currently able to access all of Ur that existed on the world map. Instanced locations like Hell One, or the Subway are currently inaccessible. We’re working on it!

Empty Ur, no longer!

When we got our hands on this code and started reassembling the pieces, we were able to walk around in Ur fairly quickly. It was an amazing and emotional moment for all of us. We could only run the game locally, so there were no other people. What made it more lonely was that the world was totally empty! There were no rocks, trees or animals; no street spirits or shrines, or even quoins! The task of putting them back was more than a little staggering!

Upon investigation of the XML data included in the repository, it turned out that there were 21,457 items in Ur that existed all the time…that does not count anything that a user could place, like notes, food items or anything else that could be dropped.  To complicate things further, we knew WHAT belonged on the street, but we had no indication as to WHERE it should be placed. The only way to get these things back? We had to add them one at a time.

Thanks to our resident genius Scheijan, and a handful of people who enjoy (seemingly endless) mindless work, we have a system that allows us to “tag” an item based on full street snaps, which would place the item in the game in the approximate right spot with some scripting magic. Without the parallax effect, this is not a totally accurate process, but it does a good enough job for now! Here is an example of how items look when you can’t account for parallax:

Close, but not quite!

Close, but not quite!

You can see how the arc of quoins is squished – on the tagging page, it probably looked like it was spread out the correct way from the landing on the right to this bigger landing I’m standing on. You can also see how the tree is a little too far back to be accurate. But, it’s THERE!

This is what an unconfigured animal spawner looks like, along with a poor, mismatched street spirit:

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 5.14.25 PM

Signs of life…

All of these things will be fixed in what we are calling “Step 2”, which is going to be a fairly major QA process to configure all the spawners and street spirits, randomize the types of quoins that show up on each  street, along with moving the trees, rocks and quoins to their proper positions. I’m currently working on how I would like to tackle this, but some other technical wizardry must happen first. Each item in Ur had its own “God Page” which allowed the developers to configure every possible asset to each item. We don’t have the code for the God Pages from Tiny Speck, so we’re going to have to come up with our own. Scheijan and Aroha are debating the best way to handle it!

Finally, this is a visual summary of statistics that represent a few weeks’ work:

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 5.34.41 PM

I can’t believe how far we’ve come! We thought we’d done an amazing thing when we’d placed 1000 items. There are only about 8 of us doing a majority of the tagging! We intend to keep up the good work while the coders work their magic to get Ur back to the way it’s supposed to be!

Blog launch!

While LadyCeres already said welcome, I wanted to expand a bit more on what you’d be able to expect from this blog and what we’re currently up to and who you can expect to hear from.

  • Screenshots!  Any time we get something amazing working and want to show off, you can bet you’ll see it here first!
  • Status updates.  We’ll keep you informed of where we are with regards to making progress on the various things we’re working on.
  • Technical overviews.  If you’re wondering what technology we’re using to store all of the Eleventy bits or what exactly is driving that piggy cubimal to run a lousy 2 planks, we’ll give you a peak into how we’re doing those things.
  • QA work.  We’re currently organizing our QA efforts to ensure all of the Glitchy bits translate well over to Eleventy ones.  It’s actualy a very large and involved effort, which you’ll be able to learn more about as they make progress.
  • Help wanted!  Every time we need someone with a specific skill to volunteer a bit of time to our effort or we need some extra people to test this or that, we’ll let everyone know here, so stalk the RSS feeds if you want to help out (you know you do).
  • Other Glitchy projects.  If you’re wondering what else there is out there being built on the legacy of Glitch, we’ll be glad to point you in the right direction.  Over on the Other Projects page, we’ve already linked to a few of them.  If you’re aware of any more that we’ve missed, let us know and we’ll be glad to add it.
  • And tons more!

Now for the blogging team!

  • KaiyonAlatar:  That’s me!  I’m working hard to keep this whole project organized and guide the directions we’re taking and jumping in on the coding where I’m able.
  • LadyCeres:  QA lead on the team.  She put together this first iteration of our website and has lead the effort to put everything back where it belongs in our beloved world of Ur while the techies get those things working properly.
  • Aroha:  One of the resident techies you’ll hear from.  He’s shoulder deep in the code building up the missing pieces.
  • Sirentist:  Holder of tons of Glitchy knowledge.  She’s bringing her vast stores of data to help rebuild Ur.
  • Scheijan:  Another of our amazing techies.  While he’s also got his hands in the code, he’s been building tools to help make the Glitch to Eleven transition easier.

To see the rest of the team, along with their ‘role’, head on over to the Team page.  It’s still a work in progress, so not everyone is currently represented, but we’ll try to keep up to date as much as possible.

And last, but definitely not least, I just want to give a quick shout out to Tiny Speck.  Without the amazing game that they built and decided to give the majority of its building blocks out for free, their brilliant new team collaboration tool Slack and some helpful guidance, we wouldn’t have made nearly as much progress as we have so far.  Thank you!

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